Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Count it All Joy

This is a hard one for me, but God says to count it all joy. I am thankful for the times that have really stretched me. The times that have changed me. Tough times reveal who we are and increase our capacity to love and understand others. Certain times in life you are extended further than ever before. This is where the real growth occurs. God can use any situation we go through and turn it around for good. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He wants to destroy families, relationships and steal our hope, peace and joy.  But God has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

I was talking to a friend the other night and she gave me the best compliment. She said I am not the person she met five years ago. This is a true friend who has been there for me no matter what. She called me on the hard days and was faithful to pray for me.Thank God I am growing and changing. Caring less and less about what people think and more about God's special and unique plan for me and my family. This means growing in compassion and empathy for others and striving to understand their stories while respecting that each of us is on a unique journey designed to stretch and grow us into the one that He created us to be.

I was recently at a meeting with Teresa Kemp and she was talking about the butterfly. After undergoing such a transformation the butterfly doesn't return to the chrysalis and look around inside wondering what it is like. It doesn't hang out in there. No, the butterfly just takes flight.

Just fly.

The butterfly emerges from the chrysalis with new capacities and abilities that it didn't have before and a whole new identity.

God can use us in spite of ourselves. My struggle was with fear and anxiety. Maybe your struggle is completely different. Just because you have been through a battle such as fear, addiction or depression does not disqualify you for kingdom work. It actually enables you to see people through the transforming love of our Father. You know that those who are dead can be brought back to life and come alive again through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The most important thing is that you get free. Freedom comes from Christ. Freedom is in the redemptive work he completed on the cross for us. Continue on in the work God is doing in you. He has a good plan. Find your peace and rest in Him alone.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG)

#november18 #countitalljoy #youmakemebrave

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